Shane Smith is handing over the CEO job at Vice Media — but that doesn’t mean he’s giving up control.
The playboy news tycoon — under pressure over accusations of a toxic “bro culture” that has fostered a slew of complaints about sexual misconduct at the millennial news outlet — nevertheless said Tuesday he will continue to play an active role at the helm as its executive chairman.
In a brash, rambling statement, Smith confirmed reports on Monday that he will hand the CEO role to former A+E Networks boss Nancy Dubuc.
Smith said he will helm the board while continuing to generate “content and deals.” Meanwhile, management under Dubuc will “harness all of this growth and control our own destiny, whether it be staying independent, strategically partnering with someone or going public,” according to Smith.
Last year, Vice Media missed revenue targets that had been set by frustrated investors who have been looking for an exit.
“We are a modern day Bonnie and Clyde and we are going to take all your money,” Smith said of himself and Dubuc, who had confirmed on Monday she was leaving A+E.
“While we tried our damnedest to have everything signed, sealed and delivered before sharing it with you and with the rest of the world, we seemingly can’t take a crap in this town without it leaking to the press,” Smith added.
Calling Dubuc a “professional CEO,” Smith pointed to the exec’s stewardship of Viceland, a channel that may have come to life thanks to Dubuc, but not one that has pulled meaningful ratings.
Smith didn’t outline Dubuc’s mission in his memo, but Vice said employees will get the chance to hear from her at a company town hall meeting on Friday.
Three years ago, Dubuc began working with Smith when A&E launched Viceland, Vice’s channel, which replaced H2 at the network. A&E owns about a 20 percent stake in Vice, and Dubuc took a seat on the board at the time.